17 December 2008 | Vol. 8, No. 4


The first time I had intercourse with a boy I was twelve and he was sixteen and our union was consummated atop a station wagon, pulling out of a dirt road, accelerating down a paved highway, reaching a reported speed of 96 miles per hour. Denny's and my sexual collaborator, the owner of the car, had me lay down first. Josh lashed me securely around the mid-section with my arms at my sides and then again just below my breasts and across the tops of my thighs. I sort of hoped someone flying overhead might see me: girl as pot roast. Josh's family owned a hardware store and presumably this considerable amount of rope had been procured from Meager's Grain, Lumber, & Supply. Denny was trickier, of course, because he needed to be tied atop me in the act. Denny almost always had an erection—the problem was achieving a tension that would keep Denny bound to me and the car roof while still allowing him to thrust. We were the interstate beast with two backs. The wool blanket beneath me (a nice touch on Josh's part—this boy I imagine grew up to be a tender and inventive lover whereas Denny died several years later in a motorcycle crash having already impregnated two girls I knew of) itched, but in a comforting way. I was all limbs and Denny's smooth skin was a squarish beacon of white.

Or, one afternoon after General Hospital Denny fucked me in his mother's bed, and afterwards threw me one of her purple bath towels, still slightly damp from her morning shower, and said, "I hope you won't be doing it with everybody now."

Notes on this piece:

"Pendleton" and "Remnant," by Elizabeth Moore, were written as companion pieces.

About the author:

Valerie Vogrin is the author of the novel Shebang (University Press of Mississippi, 2004). Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, the Florida Review, Natural Bridge, Black Warrior Review, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere. She is currently an assistant professor of English at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and prose editor of Sou'wester.

For further reading:

Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 8, No. 4, where "Pendleton" ran on December 17, 2008. List other work with these same labels: fiction, flash fiction.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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